President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov told the BBC that Moscow demands a “100% guarantee” that Ukraine will never join NATO. The organization continues to accuse Russia of aggravating the situation in Ukraine and breaking the ceasefire truce from September.
Peskov also accused NATO of pushing too close to Russia’s borders. These remarks follow Putin’s declaration that no one will “dominate and influence” Russia. Putin claims the United States wants “to subdue us [Russia], solve their problems at our expense.”
“No-one in history ever managed to achieve this with Russia, and no-one ever will,” he said.
On November 12, NATO claimed Russia moved troops into Ukraine.
“Across the last two days we have seen the same thing that OSCE is reporting. We have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defence systems and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine,” said U.S. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander. “We do not have a good picture at this time of how many. We agree that there are multiple columns that we have seen.”
The relationship between Russia and NATO is tense, but it escalated after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and positioned troops on Ukraine’s border. Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine is forcing countries to reconsider security options. Sweden and Finland want to join NATO, but Russia issued a stern warning during Finland’s National Defense Courses Association.
“Military cooperation between Russia and NATO is progressing well and is beneficial to both parties,” said Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Nikolai Yegorovich Makarov. “In contrast, cooperation between Finland and NATO threatens Russia’s security. Finland should not be desirous of NATO membership, rather it should preferably have tighter military cooperation with Russia.”
A few weeks later, Finland’s new Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said he wants the country to join NATO. However, he said in October that Finland will not “seek NATO membership in the near future.” A poll from October 28 showed the majority of Swedes are in favor of joining NATO for the first time in history.